Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big Picture: "Untransformed"

Given my now-recovering illness (no clue what it was, but my room looked like Hendrix died there) you almost didn't get this today. But here it is:


Wendy said...

Sadly, we'll just have to accept these terrible movies as somewhat here to say. I have no faith in any NEW TF movie that Mr. bay does, but at least we don't have to have the most aggrivating human characters ever written returning to the screen.

no certainty that whoever Bay replaces them with won't be worse, or annoying, but at least we gave THOSE particularly awful character a grave to jump into. Thankfully.

Phil said...

More incorrect Amazing Spider-Man bashing huh?

You know Bob, there is a lot of irony of you talking about how the Transformers movies have been "dumbed down" for the masses and how much of a shame that is yet in your misguided post on the upcoming Ninja Turtles movie you actually rejected and pounced on any suggestion that it should be "dark and gritty".

It's hilarious because it shows how blatantly hypocritical that is. You know full well that the original TMNT comics were "dark and gritty" and when it was introduced to the masses via the cartoon it was done by "dumbing" it down and not respecting the original property at all.

So why can't we get a TMNT movie that is completely based on the comics and not the light and fluffy cartoon? Because you have a fetish for light and fluffy adaptations that don't take themselves seriously of anything that is fantasy related?

That's one of the reasons I don't care for those Marvel Studio movies. Sure, they may be generally more faithful to the comics than like Fox's X-Men movies but even though it had almost nothing to do with the comics First Class was a movie with balls (and better than all of Marvel Studio's movies). Those Marvel movies are almost all partly comedies that never dig into their subjects. It's all surface with a bunch of jokes because the film makers aren't confident enough or don't know how to make the fantasy they are telling credible.

That's why I am looking forward to the Amazing Spider-Man movie because it looks credible. I don't know about you but when I read comic books that I liked I actually imagined them in real life not some light and fluffy version of reality that is partly a sit-com. Those Sam Raimi movies were a joke. Even his best Spider-Man movie still was served with a large dish of cheese.

I want to be drawn into a fantasy story and believe in the world. I don't want to sit back at a distance and roll my eyes the entire time.

Joshua the Anarchist said...

You know, I tweeted you that MiB line a few days ago. Obviously it would be silly and self-absorbed to assume I put the idea in your head to use it...but hey, that's never stopped me from boosting my own ego before! *hums contentedly to himself*

Lee Kalba said...

You realize you put the title as "Escape to the Movies"?

I have to point out to Phil, the original Eastman and Laird TMNT comics were NOT grim and gritty, they were a SATIRE of grim and gritty. It was poking fun at the trends in comics, of the day - all the mutant X-books, all the ones revolving around teenagers (half of them X-books), and all the ninja in Daredevil. Hell, half of it was just a response to Frank Miller taking over and running wild with Daredevil.
From what I've read, it wasn't as much dumbed down, as made kid-friendly.
Also, calling Bob's personal opinion, "incorrect", sets up the question of validity of anything else said.

Wendy said...

Bob, i know we disagree a lot on politics, but I do so love that I'm not the only one who isn't looking forward to the new Spider-man. I can't look at it objectively or get excited for it in any way, shape, or form, and I'm glad you're right there with me.

Phil said...

"I have to point out to Phil, the original Eastman and Laird TMNT comics were NOT grim and gritty, they were a SATIRE of grim and gritty."

You're mistaken. It started out as a parody/influence of Frank Miller's work but it took on its own identity of dark and gritty.

"From what I've read, it wasn't as much dumbed down, as made kid-friendly. "

Making something "kid friendly" is a form of "dumbing down".

"Also, calling Bob's personal opinion, "incorrect", sets up the question of validity of anything else said."

Except that he has been incorrect on things. For example, in his "breakdown" of the Spider-Man trailer he writes this:

"That's Denis Leary as Gwen's father, and NYPD Captain. In the comics ("ITC" from here on out), he was a wizened older gentleman and a single father. Here he seems to have been reconfigured into an expy of Gary Oldman's Jim Gordon"

Bob doesn't realize that the characterization of George Stacy in this new movie is clearly based on the Ultimate Marvel line. He is different from the original Marvel comics line and is pretty much just how you seem him in this trailer.

Instead, he projects this "Dark Knight" conspiracy he has theorized in his head unto the film which he is incorrect about.

Another reason why he is incorrect is that Bob isn't honest about his bias for this new movie. He pretends the movie is getting all this stuff wrong when it isn't. He just has a preference for light and fluffy films that don't take themselves seriously served with all kinds of cheese. If that's the case, he should just say that instead of doing "breakdowns" of trailers where he acts like it's just up and down getting all sorts of stuff wrong when it's not true. He can't come up with any decent reason as to why it's bad. It's just him projecting.

And speaking of Ultimate Marvel, is Bob not aware that the Hawkeye costume as seen in the Avengers film is based off his Ultimate Marvel costume and not his original Marvel costume? Seems that way from this Big Picture episode.

Graham said...

Escape to the Movies or The Big Picture?

kevmon1116 said...

Oh, don't worry Bob, I was ready to not give a crap about this from second one. The only way they can make me watch this is the same way they're getting me to buy Fall of Cybertron full-price.


Elessar said...

Ignoring the points about the Transformers movies (because why should I post to just say 'you're right' when you know you're right):

Be nice to the Hawkeye redesign. It's like Wolverine's original costume. You can twist it every which way, but you put the purple outfit (at least I think it's purple, I'm mostly colorblind) up there with the stupid mask, it's going to look INCREDIBLY dumb and damage his ability to be taken seriously. He's already got to fight against the 'Why do you use a bow when we have guns?' aspect. Why make him fight against the 'why are you wearing that stupid looking outfit?'

David (The Pants) said...

Agree with Elessar I do

MovieBob said...


re: TMNT - of course I'm aware that they started out as a darker/edgier version of themselves. You recall that I do this for a living, right?

Now, let's get real. I have the requisite amount of respect for what the original comic(s) meant to the culture in terms of energizing the b&w comics movement, indie comic-publishing in general, etc. And I enjoy them in their own right - though obviously they aren't how I first came to the franchise being that I was a 4 year-old when it began. However... it IS a poor argument "in favor" of the dark n' gritty approach since the series' whole overriding joke was MAKING FUN of the emerging "grit" trend coming out of Marvel and Frank Miller at the time.

That said, I'd WELCOME a movie-adaptation of that, something in the vein of "Sin City" or whatnot. But that's NOT what anyone will be talking about when/if they start calling the new TMNT "gritty" (even though they'll INVOKE "like the Mirage comics!" every chance they get.) Nor ought it be: A Mirage Turtles movie would be sparsely attended by a few thousand 30-40something comics geeks at best, pull in sub-"Scott Pilgrim" boxoffice and be a DISASTER considering all the money Viacom just spent buying the damn thing from Peter Laird. They are not going to make that movie.

I'd LOVE (as ever) to be proven wrong; but my read of Hollywood thinking right now (borne out time and again by facts) is that a "gritty reboot" of TMNT would mean a "Nolan-ized" version of the most well-known variation; re: the series from the 80s - think "realistic" versions of Shredder, Bebop & Rocksteady, etc plus "up to date" comic-personas for the turtles. Sound palatable to you? Not to me.

re: Spider-Man - I'm aware that aspects of the reboot are culled from USM; but until someone tells me that this is officially "Ultimate Spider-Man: The Movie" character-changes culled from there tend to get filed the same as character-changes culled from a screenwriter's magic hat when I'm attempting to explain them to a readership that might not be intimately familiar with multiple Marvel continuities.

See also: Hawkeye. Yes, I noticed that his kind-of-a-letdown outfit from the movie is from "The Ultimates." I didn't like it there, either - "The Ultimates" s-u-u-u-u-u-u-cked ;)

Phil said...

Bob, like I told Lee Kalba in my earlier reply, that whole thing about the original TMNT being a sort of parody/riff of Frank Miller's stuff (mostly his Daredevil stuff) was how it originally started but it eventually took on its own identity.

Think about it. Why else would that first TMNT movie even bother making that world so close to the comic if it really all was just a joke? Same thing with the second animated series that was made which was produced to follow the original comic books more. Problem is, both those projects were still aimed at kids first and foremost.

While I don't expect the new TMNT movie to be based on the original comics, since Nickelodeon owns the rights now, the thing that gets to me is why does that idea need to be shunned? Dark and gritty was the tone of the original source material after all so it's not like anyone is pulling it out of their ass to follow any supposed trend.

Re: Amazing Spider-Man
I don't know Bob but I think it just seems to me that you aren't knowledgeable about the Ultimate line. That's fine and it doesn't bother me but the fact that you thought that the George Stacy was being changed to fit a Nolan archetype seems to come from having a prejudice against this movie because like I pointed out he is clearly being based on the Ultimate Marvel version.

A George Stacy that is younger than the original Marvel version who is a police Captain that does not like Spider-Man and clashes with his daughter, Gwen? All from Ultimate Marvel. It's nothing coming from Nolan.

Even if you didn't know that was the case I would've expected you to at least consider that as a possibility since you are aware of a totally separate Marvel Universe especially since many of the movies based on Marvel comics do tend to lift things from the Ultimate line.

If you really enjoyed the Raimi movies more power to you. With the exception of the second movie I never liked them (the action was consistently good in all 3 though). In fact after seeing the third I actually thought that they should've done a reboot. It doesn't bother me that you are disappointed the previous gang ain't coming back but you are obviously looking at this new movie with a forced frown which is why a lot of your reasons don't add up.

You tend to be perceptive which is why these commentaries of yours on Amazing Spider-Man stick out. It's more so that you are trying to find things to hate rather than it being discerning.

nejiblue said...

Still can't leave the spiderman bitching at the door, even when the topic has nothing to do with it I see. Whatever, I'm seeing in theaters and based on the trailer, looks good to me. And I have zero interest in watching the avengers in theaters. Sorry, but I hate modern US super hero comics(barring rare exceptions like watchmen, thought I don't know if that's "modern" anymore or not), and the last thing I would want is that approach applied to movies as well(aka what the simpsons was making fun of with the comic book guy.) In other words, movies that try to be good and/or great on their own without relying on a shared continuity as a excuse for awful writing, like the entire marvel movie line so far with the biggest offender probably being iron man 2. And no, that doesn't mean all those non-marvel movies are good(the original ang lee hulk has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life), but at least there's no excuse, like iron man 2. Seriously, without that continuity people would recognize it as the piece of shit it really is.

Anyway, to the topic. What I don't get is this: why do people think transformers was ever good? Now, to give a bit of background, I grew up in the 80's. I cried when optimus died in the movie, and I had toys of optimus, starscream, and soundwave(that I remember anyway.) So I had nostalgia for it. However, I actually watched the G1 cartoon not long ago. And sorry, but it was fucking awful. I'm a big believer that shows made for kids can actually be good and the creators should put more effort into them. For example, much of the gundam franchise(especially the original series), many live action toku programs(sentai, kamen rider, metal heroes, etc.), and the original batman animated series.

However, transformers from day one was garbage. It didn't feel like the people making it gave two fucks beyond selling toys(not like all of the above examples didn't do that, but they were still good shows.) Terrible animation, terrible writing, so mediocre and brain-melting bad it wasn't even funny(not even so bad its good like the gi joe cartoon.) The movie holds up still, mostly because of great animation and some awesome voice-work, but its still not that good really. People talk about the marvel comics, but the bottom line is most people don't know about them(I never even heard of them until the live action movies started), and there was no chance of ever using them(I know bay claimed that for the fallen character I think in the second, but that felt more like a bone thrown to those hardcore fans than a actual effort.)

So yeah, the bayformer movies are awful but really, no worse than what there based on so big lose. I mean, you can make a great movie out of the worst property around, but bay is a awful director(don't disagree with that at all). My point is, he's been busy with these for a decade. That means he isn't getting the chance to ruin anything good. You would have rather he gotten a chance to direct the avengers, bob? Yeah, that's what I thought. If it prevents from ruining good movies, then yeah. He can keep making bayformers forever, and I'm good with that. It's a marriage made in heaven really, the worst director meets the worst property on the planet. And no, the actors don't matter never did. I actually think shia is a good actor, its just awful writing and direction(like natalie portman in the star wars prequels). The rest of the cast was always a big "who give's a fuck".

Oh and one last thing. No, lord of the rings would never have been that bad, even if it had gotten a sub-par director(bay would never have been allowed within 50 feet of it.) Why? Because LOTR, while somewhat overrated imo(more of a hobbit fan myself), are actually well-written books as opposed to a cheap-ass toy commercial with no redeeming qualities outside of leeching on people's nostalgia. Bye.

kevmon1116 said...


Bite our collective Nostalgia's ass.

I'm not going to say that Transformers Generation 1 was perfect; far from it. But I would never call it "The Worst Property on the planet". (Yeah, probably the most widely known giant robot franchise IN THE WORLD is the worst property on the planet. I totally believe that.) There's more to Transformers than G1. There's the Beast Saga, Animated, Prime. There are books and comics spanning the years that have fleshed out the mythos. There's a lot of potential to make an interesting story out of these characters, but the man in charge has refused to give them their due. Instead he focuses on one of the most one-note leads ever and Megan Fox's tits. There's more to this that you really just refuse to see, and it's annoying.

PS. Read all 80 issues of Marvel's Transformers. Not a bad book. It's a little too bogged down with characters, which has always plagued these toy-franchises, but it's overall very interesting.

How does a man explain his views so plainly, and you still don't get it?

v_opposition said...

If I had to guess for an ulterior motive for Bob's hate on Spider-man it's this: as long as Sony has the rights to Spider-Man, you will never see him in the larger Marvel series going on with the new Marvel movies.


Bob addressed your concerns about Transformers source material sucking (in what I believe is his most important review) in his Transformers 2 review.


"Coming from dubious source material is not a license to overlook basic tenants of filmmaking and story structure. People Come the fuck on..."

Lee Kalba said...

Dumbing down and making kid friendly isn't the same thing.
Dragon Ball Z was made kid friendly. There wasn't enough smart in it, to dumb it down.
I've never bothered to track down and read those old, B&W turtles comics, but what I have seen, there wasn't much to dumb down.

Reymath said...

Why does he have to have an ulterior motive to be disappointed in what we've seen of the new Spiderman so far? Can't he just be disappointed? I know I am. I saw the trailer and thought it looked dull as dishwater and that disappointed me because Spiderman is one of my favs.

While I'm annoyed that Sony and Fox keep rebooting just to keep the liscense, I'm firmly of the opinion that it doesn't matter WHY a movie is made (the answer is pretty much always money) what matters is whether or not it's good. See: X-Men First Class. There's no agenda for me to dislike the Spiderman reboot, it just hasn't done anything so far to convince me its any good. And I'm guessing Bob had a similar reaction.

If YOU liked what you saw, good. Great! That is excellent and I'm glad you liked it. But I don't need an ulterior motive to say I have no interest in seeing it at the moment.

T4_was_here said...

>"realistic" versions of Shredder, Bebop & Rocksteady, etc plus "up to date" comic-personas for the turtles.
Umm... We got that right now.
In the IDW comics that are moving forward at snail speed(spoilers says that Shredder wont show up for "real" intill #10) but still.
And as I old(23 years)TMNT that started with the swedish Turtles comics I have more hope for new Cartoon and toyline then some stupid movie that I wont care about intill I see a trailer or something.
BUT I will still hope for a "good" NO "great" Transformers movie do to being an optimist.
And I think "the people" care more about the way the Turtles act then Transformers because the Turtles are way more relatable.
Kids care about Transformers for being like you said, THE GREATEST BOY's TOYLINE EVER, do to is 2in1 playfactor.
Sure some grow up with the toons(I'm a Armada kid myself) and/or the comic(that have the best part of Transformers when it come to story telling.) but in the end its all about that awesome robot that turned into a even more awesome T-rex.(and kicked butt in both toon n comic. Yeah Grimlock have a LOT of fan for good reasons.)
But when it comes to our Heroes in a halfshell its all about relatability.
Evreyone have a fav Turtle, do to them wanting to be a Leader, being rude n crude, having smarts or just wanting to party. Then we have a GREAT suporting cast and some really fun and unique bad guy.
If they fuck that up, especially in the trailers, "the people" will say NOPE! and skip that movie.
Lets hope that the Battle:LA is secretly a TMNT fan and would not dream to fuck it up.
He still may do that do to well...
You have seen more of his movies then me so you probably know better then me when it comes to that stuff.
And my answer to the Mirage stuff was grim-dark or not is: SOMETIMES!
Like in the EPIC City at War arc where the Turtles hade to deal with the Fallout of killing The Shredder does starting a Foot Clan civil war that gets a ton of bystanders killed.
Or just random fun issues like the one where Shadow(Casey Jones daughter, I would say long story but it was his sub-plot from CITY AT WAR so yeah go read that, its one of the best TMNT storylines, like ever. Also speaking of CJ, DA FANFILM~ MMMmmm) goes to a concert shes not allowed
to go too(teenagers~), "Uncle" Raph follow and it turns out the concert is run by effing werewolf looking for new pack memmber. And that when TMNT is at its best(I think) Goofy fun and weird but dark and serious when its need to. Like how that story end with Shadow friend getting a sai in the heart. Her own fault for trying to maul a ninja but anyway.
Lets get back to Transformers.(I'm a fan of both, can you tell?)
If you wanna try the IDW comic now is a great time with The DEATH OF OPTIMUS PRIME issue. Its a book end to their old stuff and the start of their new with More then meets the eye(the fun SPACE ADVENTURE comic) and Robots in disguise(the POLITICAL INTRIGUE comic), check them if you have the time, you may like 'em.
I think that was all I wanted to say, so yeah, good luck with the sickness and check out IDW comic previews if like/have the time.

Zennistrad said...

"no clue what it was, but my room looked like Hendrix died there"

Hey, too soon!

Nah, but seriously, I think we should get back on topic: Transformers.

Beast Wars and Animated have pretty much proven that a Transformers series can be very well-written and still be entertaining. The main problem, I think, is that Michael Bay's approach is so much easier to take. You don't need to put thought and effort into actually telling a good story, you just need some cool explosions, military/gun porn, and a hot chick to ogle on-screen.

That's fine and all, I like to turn my brain off every once and a while, too. Transformers did start out to be pretty mindless and stupid, but after Beast Wars, it's become quite clear that Transformers can indeed tell a good story and have characters the audience actually cares about.

The Micheal Bay movies aren't really all that bad as far as brainless CGI blockbusters action films go, but the very fact that they bear the Transformers name serves only to remind how much true storytelling potential is wasted.

Phil said...

@Lee Kalba
I didn't write that, "Dumbing down and making kid friendly is the same thing" I wrote, "Making something "kid friendly" is a form of "dumbing down."

There's a difference.

In regards to your Dragon Ball Z example, it was indeed dumbed down in its initial US airing. Characters never actually died, an entire theme song with actual lyrics was replaced with a theme that had just 2-3 phrases for lyrics that were screamed over and over over a cheap rock tune, whole scenes were cut out just to get to the action faster, etc...

It isn't about ulterior motives. If you read what I wrote I specifically said that if Bob was open about the fact that he just didn't like the idea of the previous Spider-Man crew and continuity being scrapped then that'd be fine even though I don't agree with him as I didn't much care for Raimi's films.

However when he writes comments about this upcoming movie like in that trailer breakdown it is clear he is being prejudiced with this new movie. He is trying to find something wrong or accuse the movie of getting something wrong just to jump on some bandwagon rather than just observing. My aforementioned George Stacy point that Bob brought up in his trailer breakdown is a strong example of this as he was very mistaken since he was lead by his bias against the film.

Anonymous said...

This entry reminds me of this : "Freedom of bullshit" :)